Submitted: April 7, 2017
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID Nos.
0110007903 (N) 0106014370 (N)
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and SEITZ, Justices.
STRINE, JR. CHIEF JUSTICE.
28th day of June 2017, upon consideration of the parties'
briefs and the Superior Court record, it appears to the Court
appellant, Michael Hunt, filed this appeal from the Superior
Court's May 9, 2016 denial of his "motion for
modification of sentence for juvenile offenses." The
appeal is without merit.
Hunt was indicted twice in 2001. The first indictment, filed
on July 30, 2001, charged Hunt for twenty felony offenses
arising from residential break-ins committed in May and June
2001 when Hunt was eighteen years old. The second
indictment, filed on November 19, 2001, charged Hunt for ten
felony offenses, including three counts of Rape First Degree,
for crimes committed in August 2000 when Hunt was seventeen
February 6, 2002, Hunt pled guilty to eleven counts of
burglary and four other counts from the first indictment, and
to one count of rape from the second indictment. In exchange
for Hunt's guilty plea, the State dismissed all of the
other charges in the two indictments. After a presentence
report, the Superior Court sentenced Hunt, on September 13,
2002, to fifteen years of Level V imprisonment for the rape
conviction and to an additional twelve years of Level V
imprisonment followed by probation for the burglaries and
2015, Hunt filed motions under Superior Court Criminal Rule
35 seeking a modification of sentence under Rule 35(b) and a
correction of sentence under Rule 35(a). The Superior
Court granted the Rule 35(b) motion in part and denied the
Rule 35(a) motion.
April 25, 2016, Hunt filed a "motion for modification of
sentence for juvenile offenses" under Superior Court
Criminal Rule 35A. By order dated May 9, 2016, the Superior
Court denied the motion as untimely and repetitive under Rule
35(b). On appeal, Hunt claims that the Superior Court erred
when it considered the motion under Rule 35(b) instead of
Rule 35A. We review the court's denial of the motion for
abuse of discretion and review questions of law de
Title 11, section 4204A of the Delaware Code provides a
mechanism to reassess a lengthy sentence imposed for an
offense committed as a juvenile. Rule 35A governs the process
for reviewing an application to modify a sentence under that
Under 11 Del. C. § 4204A(d)(1) and Rule
35A(b)(4), an offender sentenced to more than twenty years of
incarceration for an offense committed before the
offender's eighteenth birthday is eligible to petition
the Superior Court for a modification of sentence after the
offender has served the first twenty years of the sentence.
In appropriate cases, such as when the offender shows
sufficient maturity and rehabilitation, the Superior Court
has discretion to modify the sentence.
this case, although Hunt was sentenced for an offense
committed before his eighteenth birthday-Rape First Degree-he
was sentenced only to fifteen years of Level V incarceration
for that offense, not "incarceration in excess of 20
years, " the minimum sentence required to seek relief
under 11 Del. C. § 4204A. Consequently,
Hunt was not eligible for a modification of sentence under
§ 4204A and Rule 35A.
Because Hunt was not eligible for a modification of sentence,
we conclude that the Superior Court did not err in denying
Hunt's motion even though the court should have
considered the motion under Rule 35A instead of Rule 35(b).
We will affirm the denial of the motion on the ...